What would US teachers wish politicians to know?

Teachers should have just missed that: A new non-fiction book explains to students what teachers are allowed to do and what not. Why the work is a contribution to communication in schools.

Examples from the book "What teachers are not allowed":

As a student, am I allowed to write with a red pen?

Writing with a red pen is not prohibited. However, the teacher may order that the students are not allowed to write in red because they correct with a red pen themselves. That must then be taken into account.

Can the teacher take as much time as he wants to correct a class test?

A class test should normally be corrected and returned to the students within two to three weeks. It is not the teacher who decides when the return must be made. Rather, when the work has to be returned depends on the school law. The school law in the federal state in which the teacher teaches applies.

Does the teacher end the lesson or the doorbell ring?

Basically: The teacher, not the school gong, ends the lesson.

Can a teacher prohibit going to the bathroom if a student has to?

No. Legal background: Article 1 of the Basic Law (GG) guarantees human dignity. What is meant by this is that all people are treated humanely. Humane treatment includes being able to use the toilet when necessary. Restrictions on going to the toilet are permitted in special situations, for example during exams. But here, too, a ban on toilets is not permitted. The purpose of the exam, of course, allows only one student to use the toilet at a time.

Can I keep my jacket on during class?

The school rules should regulate this question.

Can a teacher search my smartphone after collecting it?

No, he mustn't. The teacher is allowed to take the smartphone so that there is calm in the class. He is not allowed to “search through” it, neither for videos nor for files, mail histories or chats. The teacher is not allowed to do this even if illegal content could be found on the smartphone. (...) Only the police are permitted to search and confiscate student cell phones (Sections 98 and 105 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).

Can a teacher give purchase recommendations?

The following applies here: inform, yes. Recommend no. Teachers are bound to the content of the lesson. Nevertheless, the conversation in class can turn to fashion items. Then the teacher can provide information about certain products.

What the co-author and lawyer Rolf Tarneden says about the work:

How did you come up with the idea of ​​educating students about their rights?

Rolf Tarneden: The students Dallan Sam and Fernando Rode approached me. I was amazed at the request. I then looked on social networks and found that student-teacher conflicts are a huge issue there. In addition, such a guide did not yet exist.

What is the most common argument between students and teachers?

Tarneden: The cell phone. The smartphone is very important to many students, and the teachers are disturbed by the smartphone - the cell phone has no place in class. There is also a heated discussion in forums as to whether a teacher may order that one must be detained or whether he may give up detention. Class register entries also move students a lot, also without heat or cold.

Could your legal advisor help to aggravate the climate in schools?

Tarneden: No, I tend to believe that we can make a valuable contribution to communication in schools. As a conclusion on individual topics, we very often recommend: Finding a conversation with the teacher or the school management - and not: Go to a lawyer. My aim is not to divide those affected who are connected in an educational institution. My book is supposed to help students, but conflict resolution is supposed to be done in school. That was very important to me.

Has the climate in schools worsened when students are already finding out about their rights? Wasn't that an issue 20 or 30 years ago?

Tarneden: One hears from teachers' associations that legal disputes have increased. It seems that there is more critical inquiries. And where critical questions are asked, those who are asked must also face the dialogue. Because where everything is going well, the critical questions usually do not arise.

As a lawyer, critical questions can be okay with you because you benefit from the consequences.

Tarneden: I only know my legal letters, I don't know what other lawyers write. Certain areas of a school are not justiciable. As a lawyer, I do not interfere in the pedagogical area, which cannot be examined by the courts. That would be presumptuous.

What do students and parents imagine? An example, please.

Tarneden: Let's assume a teacher gives detention and as an educational measure orders a lecture on the subject of why it is good to be considerate of one another. Now the parents want to know from the lawyer whether the teacher is allowed to do that. According to our legal system, such an educational measure cannot be reviewed by courts. This is a question for educators, not for lawyers. I would not accept such a mandate.

But isn't there a lot of arguments about issues of upbringing?

Tarneden: Maybe, but I stay out of that. In education everyone has their own opinion, and every opinion has its justification. School law deals with other issues, such as when a student is excluded from class for two weeks. There are legal regulations for this.

Which is more difficult: being a teacher or a lawyer?

Tarneden: Well, for me as a lawyer, it's relatively easy. A teacher stands in front of 25 students, and the 25 students do not always show desirable attention. That a teacher is under stress, that he takes action or shows human reactions - that is completely normal. You shouldn't make any demands on a teacher that are unrealistic.

What surprised you about the production of the book?

Tarneden: The question of whether you are entitled to compensation if you get injured at school. I haven't looked at that before, and even when I think of my own school days, it wasn't an issue.


Tarneden: Yes, under certain circumstances there is actually money.

You are the father of three boys and one girl. Have there been any school situations for you as a father in which you were at the end of your Latin?

Tarneden: No.

To person

Rolf Tarneden (42) is a lawyer in Hanover, where he also completed his law degree. His focus areas include school and university law. He is married and has four children.

The book

Dallan Sam, Fernando Rode, Rolf Tarneden: What teachers are not allowed to !, Ullstein, 112 pages, ISBN-13 9783548376684, 9.99 euros.

You can also read about this:

Penal labor was deprivation of liberty: Teacher convicted

Commentary on School Conflicts: Heroes and Villains

List of rubric lists: © dpa


Tatjana Coerschulte

Editor in the newsroom

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